Los Angeles is adding all-hearing sensors to street lights that will be able to hear car crashes and report them to emergency services and first responders.
The move is part of a new pilot scheme to expand LA’s smart city capabilities. The city authorities intend to use the smart city to improve public safety and support services.
The city already has a connected street lighting infrastructure, but new technology is being deployed to improve LA’s Internet of Things (IoT) functionality.
Enabled light poles will feature microphone modules that will be able to monitor, aggregate and visualize ambient sound in various areas of the city.
The modules can be used to increase the response times of emergency vehicles by detecting the sound of a collision. They can also be used to monitor noise and emission levels.
‘We generally have a very rudimentary understanding of how noise and sound propagate in public and open spaces in the city,’ commented Dietmar Offenhuber, assistant professor at Northeastern University.
‘By attaching sound sensors to street lighting infrastructure, we get for the first time a very articulated and diverse reading of the urban soundscape. This very granular information allows us to understand how the city and the soundscape influence and impact one another.’
Los Angeles currently has more than 200,000 street lights installed throughout the city, which equates to being one of the largest street-lighting networks in the world.
‘If we imagine that every light pole can collect all kinds of data then there is so much more value that street lighting can afford to our citizens in addition to providing illumination,’ commented Ed Ebrahimian, director of the Bureau of Street Lighting for the City of Los Angeles.
Last year, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting began to install a connected street lighting management system developed by Philips, which uses existing mobile networks and cloud-based technologies to control street lights and analyse how much energy each light is consuming.